There are many things which run in my family. I said to my nephew's girlfriend last week, that when the good Lord looked at Miss R and me, he gave her difficult hair (which has since been beaten into submission) and I got everything else in the Medical Encyclopaedia. Of these, the one which hacks me off most is the arthritis, which moved into my right knee about eight years ago. Seeing how well it was doing there, several of its close relatives decided to move into my hips, ankles and two of my toes. There is another relative who is currently considering relocating into my right hand knuckles, but I've stopped baking bread and putting the coffee on, so maybe this one will just keep looking.
I've tried various lotions and potions without much success, even resorting to the dreadful cortisone injection, which worked beautifully.....for about fifty eight days. Talking to a colleague yesterday about this, she announced that her mother had been the same, and that I would probably be in a wheelchair by the time I was 75. Spurred on by this nugget of optimism, I took a short trip down to the local chemist, and taking the pharmacist to one side, asked for some advice.
My how things have changed. To be honest, I was expecting to leave there clutching a tube of Voltarol and a family size packet of ibuprofen, but lo and behold, the lovely lady there had a myriad of alternatives.
There was a gel, naturally, but not ibuprofen based - the price of this guaranteed that it would do what it said it would (that is how it works, isn't it?) But then it all started getting a little bit more exciting.
Ushering me into a side room (bet that's heard some tales) she offered me a seat and wandered out to the back room, returning far more quickly than I would have liked. She wasn't even gone long enough for me to take one of each of the leaflets on display. I had earmarked about seventeen which might be useful, but I shall have to come back for them when I have a large carrier bag and a balaclava with me.
So she slapped a box on the table and reverently took the lid off.
'This is getting a lot of positive reviews', she said, handing me what looked like a fat biro. Apparently, you press it to the site of pain, and it emits an electric shock which helps the nerves in the area to block the pain. Well the level of shock wasn't so bad, so that got put next to the gel.
She then handed me a wireless TENS machine. 'There's this too. I hated it, but again, people are coming back to us saying they loved it'. This had two pads which you stick on the painful areas (I could have done with patches about a metre squared, but the voltage needed to power them up might be too much for the six AAA batteries it came with, and I'd probably need to kick-start it... But the most worrying thing about this was that it came with a remote control, so that you could increase or reduce the strength of the current according to your levels of pain threshold.
I have had a premonition of how things are going to pan out with this...
The husband, having grabbed the remote (like men always do) will then jab it at the television and press the remote repeatedly, in a vain attempt to change channel. In the meantime, I will be jerking around the lounge doing a 1980's robotic dance, while my hair goes from standing on end, to smoking gently.
But perhaps my ankle (or what's left of it) won't hurt so much...